7 Nov 2020

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Book Review / Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years' experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she's been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy's counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other's trust, and come to see that what they've been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn't offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.

Published:     22nd November 2016
Publisher:  Hodder & Stoughton
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone
Source: Owned

Trigger Warning -  Race Discrimination and White Supremacists 




How is it that I hadn't read this yet?!  I had bought this when it first came out in 2016 but as what usually happens with books that I buy by my favourite authors, they usually sit on my shelf for a really long time because I want to make sure I read it at the right moment because I want it to be special.  This year, however, has been quite an ordinary year for all of us and it is one that has made me realise that I really need to not wait for the perfect moment, but if there is a book that you want to read you really don't need to wait for the perfect moment.  The perfect moment will be whenever you sit down and start reading this book.  

We follow Ruth Jefferson who is a labor and delivery nurse working at a hospital with lots of years of experience.  In a time when race should not be a factor, Ruth comes across parents of a newborn who turn out to be white supremetists.  Ruth is African American.  The father orders that Ruth is no longer allowed to treat his family.  Unfortunate circumstances come up and with the staffing at the hospital low, Ruth ends up having to look in on this parents' child when she shouldn't, having been ordered by her boss to do so.  Disaster happens and the child dies.  Ruth is then taken to Court and apparently has been turned against from most of the people she knew.  

Where do I start?!  I just could not stop reading this.  I really felt for Ruth and what she had to go through but she is a strong character so it was really interesting to follow her as the court case progresses.  The relationship between Ruth and her lawyer, Kennedy, was particularly interesting to follow as the story progresses and you see Kennedy have her eyes opened with everything that Ruth has to go through now and what she has had to live with for most of her life.  

A very thought provoking story that I just could not put down.